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Profile of Burt Shavitz

Business Personality
Date Of Birth:
15 May 1935
Date Of Death:
5 July 2015
Place Of Birth:
New York City, New York
Best Known As:
The Burt of Burt's Bees personal care products

Name at birth: Ingram Berg Shavitz

Burt Shavitz was co-founder and the name and face of Burt's Bees, producers of personal care products made from natural ingredients. Shavitz grew up in New York, and in the late 1960s eked out a living as a photojournalist. He left the city in 1970 for a simpler lifestyle, eventually settling in a homemade camp in Maine. He learned beekeeping from a local resident and began a small roadside business selling honey, making just enough to maintain his lifestyle of a shack, a golden retriever and a motorcycle. Then he met Roxanne Quimby, a single mother of twins who had the idea to expand the business to include bee's wax. Together they founded Burt's Bees in 1984, with Shavitz's wood-engraved image as the logo. His back-to-the-land, old-hippie image was a hit as the market for natural products grew in the 1980s, and in 1991 they launched the lip balm that would make them internationally famous. In 1994 the company expanded and relocated to North Carolina, but the relationship between Shavitz and Quimby had soured. Quimby bought out Shavitz, and he returned to his land in Maine, back to his dog and his house with a wood stove and no running hot water. Quimby went on to make more than $300 million with the sale of Burt's Bees to Clorox in 2007. Shavitz continued to earn from Burt's Bees by making promotional appearances around the world.